Featuring special opening guest: William Matheny
For five decades, Blue Öyster Cult has been thrilling fans of intelligent hard rock worldwide with powerful albums loaded with classic songs. Indeed, the Long Island, NY-based band is revered within the hard rock and heavy metal scene for its pioneering work. Blue Öyster Cult occupies a unique place in rock history because it’s one of very few hard rock/heavy metal bands to earn both genuine mainstream critical acclaim as well as commercial success.
The band is often cited as a major influence by other acts such as Metallica, and BÖC was listed in VH1’s countdown of the greatest hard rock bands of all time.
Upon the release of BÖC’s self–‐titled debut album in 1972, the band was praised for its catchy-yet-heavy music and lyrics that could be provocative, terrifying, funny or ambiguous, often all in the same song. BÖC’s canon includes three stone-cold classic songs that will waft through the cosmos long after the sun has burned out: The truly haunting “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” from 1976’s Agents of Fortune, the pummeling “Godzilla” from 1977’s Spectres and the hypnotically melodic “Burnin’ for You” from 1981’s Fire of Unknown Origin. Other notable BÖC songs include “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll,” “Then Came the Last Days of May,” “I Love the Night,” “In Thee,” “Veteran of the Psychic Wars,” “Dominance and Submission,” “Astronomy,” “Black Blade,” and “Shooting Shark.”
The intense creative vision of BÖC’s original core duo of vocalist/lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom are complemented by Richie Castellano on guitar and keyboards, and the longtime rhythm section of bass guitarist Danny Miranda, and drummer Jules Radino.
We realized we’re a “classic rock” band. That’s what we are, that’s what we do best, and that’s what we know. The band members are proud of BÖC’s classic sound, and pleased the band is creating vibrant work for disenfranchised music lovers who don’t like the homogenized, prefabricated pop or sound-alike, formulaic rap-metal, which monopolizes the radio airwaves and best-seller charts.
BÖC has always maintained a relentless touring schedule and an album of new material THE SYMBOL REMAINS was released October 9th, 2020 to rave reviews.
William Matheny may be the best songwriter working, and is at a minimum the best songwriter you might have never heard of. For those who haven’t had that good fortune, let’s go, as Warner Wolfe used to say, to the videotape. Consider his 2018 standout single “Christian Name,” which is like Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down A Dream” if it had been “Runnin’ Down A Nightmare.” Or reckon with “Living Half to Death,” the comically terrifying instant classic from 2017’s Strange Constellations in which he apologizes for “abusing all his friendships and drinking all their beer.”
Over the past four years, he has assembled a wondrous catalog which situates itself amongst the indelible tradition of roots-rock misfits like Guy Clark and Lowell George, with just enough Jackson Browne-craft and Springsteen-triumphalism to make the thing potentially huge. You can’t talk about Matheny without talking about West Virginia, although it is sometimes true that he would prefer not to discuss it. Matheny is from Mannington, population smaller than your average small town. Like most of the state, Mannington fought on the side of the Union in the Civil War and represented a crucial strategic stronghold as one of the stops on the B&O Railroad. The correct side, not that it helped all that much. They say history is written by the winners, but in spite of upholding the Union, history was not written by Mannington. Heavy industry: logging and coal. An oil boom in the 1910s. Comfortable lives and then the Great Depression. Bankers and foreclosures. History was written by Mannington and then history was written on Mannington. That grand old feeling, indeed.
And while he might not always want to talk about it, West Virginia is a central character in Matheny’s songs. The dirty snow falling on the Coffindaffer Crosses, the Moundsville guards, the doomed shout-outs to Stoney Cooper, the unhappily married lovers at the Elks Lodge and the tapes from Go-Mart melting on the dashboard all enforce the notion that the man can travel wide and far from Mannington, but Mannington never leaves the man. Like so many before him — Elvis from Tupelo or the Mekons from Leeds — he can check out any time he likes. But he can never et cetera, et cetera. Or as he once elegantly put it, “Moon over Mannington/ Moon over Spain/ Moon over happiness/ Moon over pain.”